Informed Cannabis Policies on Canadian Campuses: Toward the Protection of Youth and Young Adults


  • Tristan Rebecca Kaitlyn Sinnatamby University of Alberta
  • Joel Agarwal University of Alberta
  • Emad Saad University of Alberta Department of Medicine



Introduction: The legalization of cannabis across Canada in October 2018 introduced issues including regulation at different levels, public and individual education, and discussions about cannabis product safety. We aimed to discuss ineffective and effective cannabis use policy on campuses and associated public areas, given the known short-term and long-term effects pertaining to its neurologic, pulmonary, and purported medicinal effects. Cannabis interferes with many of the body’s basic and executive (higher-level) functions. It is also associated with long-term harmful effects when chronically used. The purpose of this paper is to review and further discuss the responsibility local governments and educational institutions have for creating policies and regulations around cannabis use, particularly within post-secondary institutions, and for implementing educational strategies to promote public knowledge of cannabis.

Methods: Peer-reviewed articles published in the last 10 years were searched for through the MEDLINE database. In addition, national and local health-related websites discussing cannabis policies were reviewed and collated. Expert opinions were also sought out to provide further information and resources.

Results: 31 peer-reviewed articles and 12 professional websites were retrieved and reviewed. Correspondences with individual experts aware of and involved with campus cannabis policies also provided relevant resources and data used in this document.

Conclusion: Smoke-free campus policies create the best health outcomes for the campus population. As well, creating effective and properly regulated policies and prioritizing public education is pertinent especially on universities where the population demographic is relatively young.